Becoming Catholic/RCIA/Year Round Catechumenate
Becoming a Catholic: It’s Your Faith Journey
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a process through which adults discern if the Catholic tradition of Christian life is appropriate for them. Through discussions, prayers, and reflection, we accompany the person on this journey of faith, allowing each person to develop relationship with God.
This process fosters the spiritual needs of the following persons:
- Those adults never baptized, who seek to become Catholic,
- Those adults baptized in another Christian church, who seeks to be Catholic.
- Those adults already baptized as a Catholics, but who have not celebrated the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
When a person considers becoming a Catholic, we, the community of Holy Name Cathedral, welcomes him or her to begin the process from the moment of Inquiry. For us, RCIA is not a program, based on the school calendar. Rather, it is process, allowing an Inquirer to begin discernment at any time. This perspective also allows each person, along with the team, to determine the length of the process. Each person has a unique relationship with God, and our team’s objective is to accompany each person on that journey.
Eventually, inquirers will join a cohort of others in discernment. Christianity is a communal faith tradition, recognizing the wisdom of the group. At certain points, the team offer persons the invitation to advance through certain stages of the process:
- Inquiry/Precatechumenate is the initial stage, whereby adults ask questions, share concerns, enhance a prayer life, and determine if Catholicism fulfills their spiritual desires.
- Inquirers determine if they wish to move forward in the journey. If so, they participate in the Rite of Acceptance for unbaptized inquirers, who thereafter are referred to as catechumens. There is also a Rite of Welcome for baptized Christians, who thereafter are known to as candidates.
- In both cases, each catechumen and candidate chooses or given a spiritual companion, known as a
- Catechumenate is the next stage whereby there is more profound study of Catholicism.
- With the consent of the team and sponsors, candidates may make a profession of faith to the Catholic Church, at any time in the catechumenate.
- The RCIA process focuses on the catechumens, provides a series of rites and ritual for a unique initiation into the Catholic Faith, and begins in the Season of Lent.
- Rite of Sending. The local congregation sends the catechumens to the cathedral and presented to the bishop. Holy Name has a creative way of celebrating this rite, considering that it is the cathedral. Also, candidates can also participate
- Rite of Election. The catechumens and candidates, along with those from other archdiocesan parishes, present themselves to the archbishop. From this point, the catechumens receive the title of Elect, for God has elected them.
- The Elect and candidates, who choose to experience this ritual, participate in three weeks of intense prayer and reflection, purging obstacles that may inhibit their desire to be full members of the Church.
- Easter Vigil/Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. After weeks of preparation, the Elect are baptized at the Easter Vigil. Candidates, who choose to participate, will join them in the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
- This post initiation stage allows the new Catholics to unpack the experience, address questions that may arise only at this point of becoming Catholic, and discover ways of solidifying the foundations for a Catholic lifestyle.
What if I am not sure that the Baptism my church used is valid?
During the interview, the staff personnel helps determine the validity of the baptism. Some church do not baptize while others may practice presentations or dedications. These may not necessarily be baptism. Either way, a solution will be determined on how to move forward,
What is a sponsor, and how to do I get one?
At the Rite of Acceptance and Rite of Welcome, each catechumen or candidate should have a spiritual companion who will walk the journey with him or her. This adult, who is baptized, confirmed, and receives the Eucharist, accompanies the person on the journey, gently guiding him or her to a genuine experience of the Catholic lifestyle. You may have someone in mind, or we can recommend a person.
If I am interested, what do I do next?
Set up a time for discussion with staff personnel. Please do not complete the inquirer form until you have completed the discussion. Contact Dr. Kenneth Ortega, firstname.lastname@example.org
Do I need to be prepared in any way?
There is always apprehension in venturing into the unknown. You need only come with an open mind and heart. We will help you along the way. Trust that God will guide you, and we will do our part.